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They’re Not From Texas (But Texas Will Love Them Anyway)

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 9, 2005 2:55PM

This was the year that the Sundance Film Festival definitively jumped the shark. When the big story coming out of Park City isn’t about the bidding war for some hot new film but rather how much swag DJ Qualls is pulling down then you know something’s amiss. And so the South by Southwest festivals stand alone in wearing the mantle of the true independent spirit of the arts.

2005_03_09_sxsw.JPGDespite growing in size and scope over the last 18 years, SXSW has never lost its dedication to showcasing the creative forces in music as well as film and technology. The “Keep Austin Weird” mantra that its residents use as a form of centering prayer must be what keeps this showcase from becoming a haven for hangers-on like Paris Hilton. Plus, the skiing is lousy.

Forty-two bands that claim Chicago as their home will be journeying southward for the conference, which has long been considered a launching pad for bands that are becoming big fish in their regionally small pond. They're familiar names like Baby Teeth, Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, The Like Young, and The Redwalls as well as names soon to be etched into the national consciousness like David Singer and the Sweet Science, The Zincs, and Tight Phantomz.

Other Chicago favorites include The M’s, who will be making their way down to Austin as part of a tour that kicks off tomorrow as they rock the engineering majors at the Illinois Institute of Technology. They have a choice weekend slot on a Saturday night as well as two other gigs at SXSW, which should ensure that they break wide sometime this year. Also, Tuesday night Hideout house band Devil In A Woodpile brings the blues in a Bloodshot Records label showcase on Saturday night. They released their third Bloodshot album, In Your Loneseome Town, yesterday and will be featured on XRT’s Local Anesthetic this Sunday before they skip town.

Just remember to bring your fiddle, boys.

Image: SXSW